France awards Dunkirk site to EDF consortium

France's state-owned utility, EDF, and its consortium partners Enbridge and Innogy, have been named the winners of the tender to develop a 600MW offshore wind project off Dunkirk.

The area off Dunkirk 'is one of the best zones to develop offshore wind in France', according to the French Wind Energy Association
The area off Dunkirk 'is one of the best zones to develop offshore wind in France', according to the French Wind Energy Association

The winning bid is believed to be below €50/MWh but an exact price is yet to be revealed. The site, located 10km off the north coast of France, is due to be online by 2026.

A total of ten consortiums were pre-qualified to bid in to the tender including most of the major players in offshore wind.

"Our winning bid was highly competitive, and this has notably prompted the Government to double the offshore wind power targets contained in its Multi-year Energy Plan, giving new development opportunities for EDF and all participants in the sector," said Jean-Bernard Lévy, CEO of the EDF Group.

Environment minister François de Rugy made the announcement in a speech today at an event for the Saint-Nazaire offshore wind site, which was the first commercial scale project fully to be fully approved earlier this month.

Prior to the results announcement, French prime minister Edouard Philippe said he wanted to "massively develop renewable energies including offshore wind".

Philippe also indicated plans to "increase the pace of future tenders to 1GW a year".

Olivier Perot, president of trade body France Energie Eolienne, welcomed the award: "While it is always more important to trigger a real change in our methods of generating electricity, offshore wind opens up new horizons for France.

"Inexhaustible, clean, safe, predictable, and more than ever competitive, in this context, the government confirms that wind power is a major asset for France, its future and the security of supply of its electricity network," Perot added.

Meanwhile, WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson challenged the French government to take advantage of this new momentum. 

"Things are starting to look more positive for wind energy in France again with the results from the Dunkirk offshore auction and the latest onshore tender," said Dickson.

"And it is good the French government has now said on the back of the Dunkirk result that it is going to increase the volumes of new offshore wind in the energy plan to 1GW a year.

"It should specify how much of this will be fixed-bottom and how much will be floating offshore wind. France was the only country in Europe to include a figure for floating wind in its draft National Energy Plan for 2030.

"It can increase that now and stake out its claim for industrial leadership in Europe on floating. Or maybe other countries will want a share of the jobs?"

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